[[caption-width-right:350:Creator/WhoopiGoldberg as a nun... This is ''absolutely'' going to be awesome.]]

->'''Reverend Mother:''' Girl groups? Boogie woogie on the piano? What were you thinking?\\
'''Sister Mary Clarence:''' I was thinking more like Vegas, you know? Get some butts in the seats.

Two films that star Creator/WhoopiGoldberg as Deloris Van Cartier, a Reno lounge singer who pretends to be a nun (for reasons specific to each movie) and introduces excitement into the formerly-solemn local church music.

The first ''Sister Act'', released in 1992, Deloris witnesses her [[TheMafia Mafioso]] boyfriend commit a murder. She enters WitnessProtection and is forcibly inducted into an abbey as "Sister Mary Clarence". The only other person at the abbey who knows her true identity is the Mother Superior. Deloris has to follow the vows of poverty, obedience, hard work, chastity, and getting up at 5 AM. Eventually, she becomes the leader of the abbey choir, and she decides to [[BlitheSpirit make some improvements by combining spirituals and R&B]], and the lively new music brings newcomers into the church. However, her newfound visibility does no favors for why she entered the abbey in the first place...

HilarityEnsues. With a tambourine.

One of the most popular comedies of TheNineties, and up there with ''Film/{{Ghost}}'' as one of Whoopi Goldberg's most famous roles, with a cast of beloved character actors and a magnificently long-suffering Maggie Smith as the Mother Superior. The film also drew praise from both Catholics and actual nuns, as the film portrays Catholicism in general and nuns in particular as warm, welcoming, and human (as opposed to some of the other [[NunsAreSpooky popular]] [[NaughtyNuns portrayals]]). The biggest draw is probably the music itself, which reinterprets such classics as "My Guy" into a religious format. In 2006, the movie was [[ScreenToStageAdaptation made into a stage musical]], with songs by Music/AlanMenken.

A sequel followed in 1993: ''Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit''. Deloris takes her story to Las Vegas and her show becomes a hit. One night, her old friends from the convent pay her a visit, and they tell her that the Catholic school where they've been teaching (which happens to be Deloris' own alma mater) is slowly going under. Deloris agrees to return as Sister Mary Clarence and [[SaveOurStudents teach the music class to a large group of very disinterested teenagers]] (led by a young Music/LaurynHill). After a series of pranks being pulled on her, she strikes back in her own way and humbles the kids so that she can work with them. She decides to form the kids into a choir, singing the same sort of music from the previous film and entering a choir competition in hopes to convince the archdiocese that the school is worth funding.

!!The first film provides examples of:

* AnswerCut: This is how the convent is revealed to be the last place where Vince would look for Deloris.
* ArmorPiercingResponse: When Deloris finds out about the convent's strict 9:00 curfew, she complains to Reverend Mother; the older woman's stern (and very accurate) answer hits Deloris hard, and makes her begin to reach out to the other nuns.
-->'''Deloris''': You know, before I came here, I had a career, I had friends--I had clothing that fit. Before I came here, I was okay.
-->'''Reverend Mother''': Oh, really? From what I've heard, your singing career was almost non-existent, and your married lover ''wants you dead.'' If you're fooling anyone, it is only yourself. God has brought you here. ''Take the hint.''
* ArsonMurderAndLifesaving:
-->''' Reverend Mother:''' I hold you responsible for all of this. For introducing a lounge act into my convent, for utterly disrupting our lives, and exposing us all to mortal danger.\\
[[{{Beat}} ...]]thank you.
* BaitAndSwitch: Deloris leads the choir in a classical (and much improved) rendition of "Hail Holy Queen," before abruptly starting an up-tempo version.
* BecomingTheMask: A variation. While Deloris certainly never takes vows or becomes an "official" nun, she does slowly lose her snarky, self-absorbed attitude as she stays in the convent. By the end of the film, she's become a genuinely kind, compassionate person--much like the other nuns. It's best summarized when, in the final scene, Reverend Mother declares that, for all intents and purposes, Deloris ''is'' Sister Mary Clarence (see EvenEvilHasStandards below).
* BetterThanSex: After two of the singing nuns refer to singing as being better than more innocent things such as "springtime" and "ice cream," the "heathen" FishOutOfWater Deloris proclaims that singing is "[[TheTriple better than sex]]," adding that it's [[OrSoIHeard what she has heard]] after a comedic {{Beat}}.
** TheTriple
* BigFun: Sister Mary Patrick loves ''everything'', unapologetically. When Deloris asks her if she's always so cheerful:
-->'''Sister Mary Patrick:''' Am I? All right, I am, I can't help it. I've always been upbeat, optimistic, perky. My mother always said, 'that girl is pure sunshine. She'll grow up to either be a nun or a stewardess'. Coffee?
* BigWhat: Deloris employs at least one, when Lt. Eddie Souther explains he can't spring her from the convent, and also that she can't continue calling him from there.
* BlitheSpirit: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Only one character in the entire movie insists that things should be the way they are, but she is subverted by everyone else.
* BritishStuffiness: Reverend Mother (it is Maggie Smith, after all). However, this gradually modifies, especially in the sequel.
* CallBack: Reverend Mother does not approve of the nuns leaving the convent at night, following Deloris into the bar across the streets, because people don't respect religious figures much in their neighbourhood. "These robes no longer protect our sisters. The walls ''do''." Later, Deloris is abducted by Vince's thugs, Willy and Joey. They bring her back to the Moonlight Lounge and Vince orders them to shoot her -- but they refuse, because "We can't waste a ''nun''."
* CharacterDevelopment:
** Deloris learns how to treat others with more respect and becomes more spiritual and less mouthy.
** Reverand Mother learns that while there's nothing wrong with the traditional ways of the Church, it's important to be open to new ideas.
** Sister Mary Robert learns how to be more confidant and gets over her stage fright. In fact, she's the one who rallies the nuns to save Deloris after she gets kidnapped by Vince's goons.
* ChekhovsSkill: Deloris's backup singers wonder what will happen to the act without Deloris to "pick all the music and tell us where to stand and everything"; i.e., she is the group's music arranger as well as its lead singer, which comes in handy in the convent choir as well.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Justified; how many people know that the Anglicans and Orthodox, among others, have nuns?
* CoolOldLady:
** Sister Alma may be old and deaf, but she sure can tickle that ivory.
** Sister Mary Lazarus is pretty hip too. Despite her insistence upon how ''un''hip she is.
** Reverend Mother is more this in the second movie, having gone through a DefrostingIceQueen in film #1.
* CurseCutShort: Deloris starts to say that the nuns' food taste like "shit"; Reverend Mother stops her by declaring a vow of silence.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Vince's hitmen Joey and Willy are very reluctant about killing a nun, even if it's someone they know dressed as a nun. Although he's too proud to admit it, clearly even Vince can't bring himself to shoot Deloris while she's in a nun's habit. Just the fact that she may have found God in her time at the convent is enough to make them uncomfortable and they even go along with her when she starts praying.
-->''' Reverend Mother:''' I guarantee you she is no broad! She is Sister Mary Clarence of St. Katherine's Convent. She's a model of generosity, virtue, and love! You have my word for it, gentlemen, she is a nun!\\
'''Willy:''' ''[to Vince]'' Ya hear that? Now, aren't you glad we didn't shoot her?
* EveryoneHasStandards: At the beginning of the film, Deloris is carrying on with Vince knowing full well that he's married and is generally a smart-mouthed, unpleasant person. She's almost tempted to return to him when he tries to buy her off with a gorgeous mink coat...but then she finds his wife's initials in it. Even the opportunistic Deloris can't bring herself to do that--"You don't ''earn'' other people's wives' fur coats, OK?"-- and declares that enough is enough. Unfortunately, this sudden pang of conscience makes her witness Vince murdering someone, and kicks off the plot.
* TheFaceless: Pope John Paul II's face is never shown, even though he appears from behind (presumably because he's too famous to portray with an actor and they could never get the real Pope to make a cameo in this film).
* TheFamilyForTheWholeFamily: Played straight with Joey and Willy; averted with Vince.
* FieryRedhead: Sister Mary Robert is a total aversion.
* FishOutOfWater: Deloris at first in the convent.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble:
** '''Choleric:''' [[SassyBlackWoman Deloris/Sister Mary Clarence]]
** '''Sanguine:''' [[GenkiGirl Sister Mary Patrick]]
** '''Melancholic:''' [[CoolOldLady Sister Mary Lazarus]]
** '''Phlegmatic:''' [[ShrinkingViolet Sister Mary Robert]]
* FurAndLoathing: Vince tries to buy Deloris back by giving her a mink coat--turns out it belongs to his wife. Her rage at this and attempts to return it make her an eyewitness to a murder.
* GenderBlenderName: [[TruthInTelevision As with many (but not all) nun orders]], all of the nuns are named "Sister Mary X", with X being a male saint's name. The only two exceptions are Reverend Mother, who is [[NoNameGiven called only by her title]], and the nearly-deaf pianist [[OddNameOut Sister Alma]].
* GodIsLoveSongs: Played with. Romantic songs such as "My Guy" are given new lyrics, focusing on religion rather than romance.
* GroinAttack: Deloris does this to both of Vince's goons after a prayer on her knees.
* HeroicSacrifice: Reverend Mother ''lied'' to the thieves when saying that "Mary Clarence" is indeed a nun, when she is not. Remember, Reverend Mother is a nun (and a highly conservative one to boot), and saying lies is a big deal for them (it's one of the Ten Commandments). But, if she didn't, they would have killed Deloris, which justified it.
** It's also possible that she realized that Deloris, while not an avowed nun, ''did'' have the spirit and heart of one, so she was technically speaking the truth.
** There's also Deloris herself working to free Mary Robert from Vince's goons. She ends up shoving the younger woman out of the car, choosing to save her (and by extension, the other nuns) rather than escape.
* HiddenDepths: The main theme of the movie. Both Deloris and the nuns show it.
* HollywoodNuns: All over this movie. And subverted in many ways.
* IllKillYou: When Lt. Souther sees Deloris Van Cartier (AKA: "Sister Mary Clarence") on TV, he's upset that Deloris is making no real attempt at hiding.
-->'''Lt. Souther:''' I'm gonna kill her! I'm gonna kill her myself!
* ImGoingToHellForThis: Mary Lazarus believes sneaking ice cream into the convent is an indulgence, however...
-->'''Sister Mary Lazarus:''' This is a sin, it's a wicked indulgence. ''[beat]'' Didn't they have any butter pecan?
* ILied: Reverend Mother says this after the monsignor reminds her of her "vow of hospitality."
* KitchenChase: After Deloris witnesses the murder, her getaway takes her through the casino's kitchen.
* LastSecondWordSwap: ''Bless you.''
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Monsignor O'Hara and the Reverend Mother are the only ones in the covenant who know about "Mary Clarence's" true origins until Deloris gets snatched by the mob.
* LostInACrowd: Those habits sure make everyone look identical.
* TheMafia: Vince's Reno organization.
* MagicalNegro: Deloris, especially as the TokenBlack of the convent in the first film.
** This could be seen as an inverted MightyWhitey trope, since Deloris is the protagonist (unlike most MagicalNegro characters), and she takes over the choir by proving she is better at it than any other nuns.
* AMinorKidroduction: The film opens with Deloris (about age nine) getting into trouble at a Catholic school for naming The Apostles as [[Music/TheBeatles John, Paul, George, and Ringo]].
* MissedHimByThatMuch: When the convent's good deeds and efforts to clean up their neighborhood make the news, Vince's wife Connie is seen watching the story. She calls to her husband (who has his back turned while practicing billiards) to come see the "cute little nuns"; had Vince turned around a few moments earlier, he would have spotted Deloris.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: DoubleSubverted. Near the end of the film, Deloris escapes into a casino, where she sticks out because she's wearing her nun's habit... until a bunch of the other nuns also run into the casino to find her.
* NoodleIncident: Whatever the deal was with "Buckwheat Bertha"...
%%* NunsAreFunny: Some are.
* OneSteveLimit: Most of the nuns are called Sister Mary something but it's common for nuns to be given names like this when they join.
* ParentheticalSwearing: When Vince is being taken away by the cops.
-->'''Deloris:''' I got two words for you, Vince.\\
'''Sister Mary Robert:''' ''[gasps]'' Mary Clarence!\\
'''Deloris:''' ...[[PrecisionFStrike Bless you.]]
* PerpetualSmiler: Sister Mary Patrick. And it's ''genuine.''
* PrayerOfMalice: Played with during the climax. When the helicopter pilot refuses to fly the nuns to Reno, they pray, out loud and right in front of him in passive-aggressive fashion, that God will be kinder to him in his own hour of need than he was to them in theirs. They needle him by committee until he changes his mind.
** Also played with in a very similar way with Deloris and Vince's goons. When they untie her to take off her nun's costume (as they "can't waste a nun"), she immediately falls to the floor and begins praying, begging God to forgive them for having to do Vince's dirty work. The men actually go along with it and cross themselves...and that's when Deloris uses her kneeling positions to [[GroinAttack whack them in their crotches]] and run off.
* ReactionShot: The scene in which the choir represents its new and improved self is full of these.
* ScreamDiscretionShot: Deloris, upon seeing herself in a habit for the first time. "I look like a penguin!"
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Deloris reaction upon hearing about the vow of chastity she's expected to follow while doing her time disguised as a nun. She's dragged back by Mother Superior.
* ShoutOut: Look close at the back of the church in the final song of the first movie and you'll see Film/TheBluesBrothers in a rather familiar stance....
* ShrinkingViolet: Sister Mary Robert.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Pretty high on the idealistic end, as Diana Ross cover songs are all that's needed to turn a slum into a vibrant street corner. The Reverend Mother expresses cynicism that her nuns can handle the harsh realities of the street, but that's because she's the [[StopHavingFunGuys "Stop Having Fun" Nun]] and her lesson is about how you can't shelter yourself away from the real world.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Deloris van Cartier, according to the subtitles. While the surname was chosen, it seems that her given name was spelled that way even as a child.
* TakeAThirdOption: Regarding singing the traditional way as Reverend Mother wanted or the new popular way brought by Deloris in the Pope visit. In the end, they ended up singing the first verse traditionally and then transitioning to the newer way.
* TookALevelInKindness: Deloris' character arc is essentially this. Exemplified best when she is running for her life in the beginning she knocks people down and just runs. At the end, she stops to make sure they are all right, despite guns shooting at her.
* TwoWordsAddedEmphasis: "I got two words for you, Vince." "Mary Clarence!" *Beat* "Bless you."
* VivaLasVegas: The beginning and end of the first movie are set in Reno, which is close enough. Reverend Mother isn't too impressed.
--> '''Sister Mary Patrick:''' And what a lovely name, Reno!\\
'''Reverend Mother:''' ...and Gomorrah!
* VowOfCelibacy: Deloris is not pleased when she is informed of the requirements of being a nun by the mother superior.
* WitnessProtection: Deloris enters this in the first movie.
* YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe: Deloris' reaction when Eddie wants to disguise herself as a nun.
--> '''Deloris''': You must be out of your... You know what? I'm gonna go back and work this out with Vince. You're a lunatic! ''(Storms out of the church with Eddie trying to stop her)'' I'm not gonna be in no damn convent with these people! These people don't even have sex!

!!The second film provides examples of:
* AccidentalMisnaming[=/=]MaliciousMisnaming: Mr. Crisp at first has difficulty remembering the “Clarence” in Sister Mary Clarence. Once he learns she is not a real nun, he stops trying to remember her given pseudonym and just calls her “Sister Mary Fake.”
** Mary Clarence returns the favor by calling him “Crispy.”
* ArcWords: In the second movie: "If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention."
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Father Ignatius tries to encourage Mary Clarence by quoting from the Bible, “O ye be of strong will.” Mary Lazarus follows up by saying, “And ye better be as tough nails too.”
* BanisterSlide: Mary Clarence does one of these.
* BreakingTheFourthWall:
** When Frank-ay and Maria overhear the nuns mentioning that "Sister Mary Clarence" has a past in Vegas, they give the camera synchronized confused looks and say, "Vegas?"
** And of course the camera mob during the closing credits....
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When Mary Clarence sits down on the seat with glue, all the students cry out a whispered “Yes” and respond excitedly when she talks about “fusion.” She thinks the students are saying “Yes” because they agree with her love for Music/TheSupremes. Only later does she realize they are celebrating their successful prank against her.
* ComplimentBackfire: Reverend Mother tells Deloris that she is an example of how “a sow’s ear can be turned into a silk purse.” Deloris wouldn’t have phrased it that way.
* CoolOldLady: Many of the nuns who sing “[[Music/TheTemptations Ball of Confusion]]” at the retirement home definitely count as this.
* CrowdSong: Movie ends with the whole cast singing “[[Music/MarvinGaye Ain’t No Mountain High Enough]].”
* DemotedToExtra: Outside the finale, the Reverend Mother only appears in three scenes in the movie.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Father Thomas in the second film.
* EducationMama: [[spoiler: Initially,]] Rita's mom does not bless her choir participation. It's made quite clear, albeit obliquely, that the reason she disapproves of her daughter's desire to sing and instead tries to force her to focus only on education is not a general "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" or "you have to have better opportunities and do better than I did" mentality, but because her husband tried the same path, failed utterly, and left the family destitute. So it isn't that she disparages Rita's dream, but that she finds it [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids impractical]] and [[ThisIsReality unrealistic]] and is afraid pursuing it could cost her, the same as happened to him.
* FailedASpotCheck: The friars apparently never met or heard of Deloris van Cartier, despite being in the same city as the convent she previously stayed in and working with the same nuns as she did. Were there no conversations about Deloris before the nuns decided to recruit her? The Pope came to San Francisco specifically to hear the Deloris’ choir! Given that, Mr. Crisp should have heard of her as well.
* FantasyForbiddingFather: Distaff example. Rita's mother is determined to squash her dreams of becoming a singer. She won't even allow her to join the school choir as an extra curricular because she thinks she should be spending all her time studying to get into a good college.
* FiveFiveFive: Shows up when Rita is filling out her permission slip.
* FullNameUltimatum: ''Rita Louise Watson!''
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: After the rap segment in "Joyful Joyful", we see one of the boys run like a bunny to get back into his position in the choir.
* GenreShift: The first movie is a WitnessProtection comedy, while the sequel is a SaveOurStudents dramedy.
* HeyLetsPutOnAShow: While the choir competition in the sequel isn't created or put on by Deloris and the other nuns, it otherwise fulfills this trope, seeing as it a) gives the students confidence in themselves b) proves the school is and can be successful again and c) convinces the archdiocese [[SaveOurStudents not to close it]].
* IncrediblyLongNote: Ahmal at the end of “Oh Happy Day”
-->'''Ahmal''': “When Jesus '''''waaaaaaaaaaashed''''' my sins away!”
* InnerCitySchool: The main setting of the second movie, with mostly African-American students and a [[TokenMinority few Hispanic and white kids]].
* InsistentTerminology: At the end of the film, the kids find out that she worked in Vegas, and they ask her about whether she was a Vegas showgirl.
-->'''Deloris:''' Let's get one thing straight... I am not, nor have I ever been, a Las Vegas showgirl. I am a headliner!
* MalcolmXerox: Wesley, or as he prefers to be called, “Ahmal M’jomo Jamaael," which means "He who is spirited.”
* NailsOnABlackboard: In the second film, this is how Deloris gets the students' attention.
* NoodleIncident: Apparently, the Reverend Mother and Father Maurice caused Bishop O'Malley a lot of problems ...
* PassingTheTorch: In the first film, Deloris gets to know the sweet, ShrinkingViolet novice Mary Robert, helping her to find her voice (literally) and become confident in herself. In the sequel, Mary Robert performs something of the same role (and even lampshades it to Deloris) for Rita.
* PopCulturalOsmosisFailure: Tyler has never heard of Music/TheSupremes, but he does at least know who Diana Ross is.
** Maria somehow made it through pre-school and elementary school without learning “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
* PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy: Frank-ay (ayy-oh-ayy) is actually a pretty good rapper.
* PreviouslyOn: The events of Sister Act are summed up with a medley at the beginning of the sequel.
* SaveOurStudents: Deloris' nun friends ask her to help turn around the choir of the Catholic school she attended as a child. Also overlaps with SavingTheOrphanage, since thanks to the greedy superintendent, if Deloris can't turn the problem class around, the archdiocese is going to close the whole school and have it torn down to make, yes, a parking lot.
* SoProudOfYou: Rita's mother says this to her at the end of the movie.
* SocietyMarchesOn: Historically, non-Catholic families have sent their children to Catholic schools in order to ensure that they get a better education than they would in public schools. Today, charter schools have largely filled that niche at no tuition cost. As such, the events of this movie are far less likely to happen in an inner-city setting today.
* SpontaneousChoreography: Technically averted, since some of the students are briefly shown practicing the dance moves when they first arrive at the competition. Still, it’s hard to imagine how they would’ve done all those moves in the choir robes.
* WhoopiEpiphanySpeech: The sequel is pretty much one long one of these. (Incidentally, they ''work''.)
* AWildRapperAppears: "Who Got the Flo?" and the rap sequence in "Joyful, Joyful".
* YourMom: When Deloris first meets the students, they are trading a series of these jokes.
!!The stage musical provides examples of:

* AdaptationNameChange: Deloris' real name is Doris Wilson with Deloris Van Cartier being a stage name. Her gangster ex-boyfriend Vince has been renamed Curtis.
* AmbiguouslyGay: The two antique-dealing bachelors who want to buy the convent.
* BigEater: The musical version makes clear Sister Mary Patrick is one. The lyrics to "How I Got the Calling" specify she found God's vocation through food, such as seeing "the face of Jesus in a coconut cream pie."
* DoNotCallMePaul: Deloris hates Eddie calling her Doris.
* EveryoneWentToSchoolTogether: Deloris and Lt. Eddie Souther were in the same class.
* MusicalWorldHypothesis: People now randomly burst into song as well as having realistic rehearsals and performances.
* PromotedToLoveInterest: Eddie to Deloris.
* RaceLift: Vince/Curtis is now black and Lt. Souther is white.
* SettingUpdate: Inverted; the film was set in the then-present, but the musical goes back to 1978, so that Alan Menkin could do disco style songs.
* SummonEverymanHero: The play starts with Mother Superior praying to God to save the convent. We then get a GilliganCut to Deloris performing on stage in a nightclub.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Philly cheese steaks for Deloris.